Katy and Rachel were asked by the peak body for volunteering and community information services in the ACT to assist them to understand what impact they were making in the community and how to better meet their goals. They started by working with the organisation to develop a Theory of Change. Through this process the team agreed on what long term and intermediate outcomes they wanted to achieve and what interventions needed to be in place to achieve them. Katy and Rachel then worked with the team to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework so they could measure progress towards these outcomes.
All staff now understand where the organisation is headed, why and how, and are committed to the organisational goals. The organisation has processes in place to measure their impact. The outcomes data they gather helps them in reporting to government, garnering public support for their directions and allocating resources to best effect.
Gretchen and Katy were commissioned by the Queensland Department of Education and Training to undertake a stakeholder and community engagement process to develop viable options for the design and delivery of an early years service with wraparound health, parenting and family support services which meets the specific needs of the Redlands community. The area is diverse and dispersed with a number of different island-based communities and areas of significant socio-economic disadvantage and high growth. The process was designed to elicit the greatest possible level and range of engagement with the families in the area as well as the health, education and family support services.
Through this inclusive process, Gretchen and Katy designed and validated a service model that responded to the needs of those who need it most, while integrating and coordinating existing services and community and professional knowledge. The Redlands Integrated Early Years Place was funded by government and continues to provide a suite of services to families in the area. It was recognised in 2019 with a community initiative award, recognising a new and creative approach to promoting child protection.
Gretchen and Rachel worked with Children’s Health Queensland to increase understanding of the experiences of children who have significant health care needs. The long-term aim was to improve support for the children's development and participation in life.
The project invited parents of children who have significant health needs to share their experiences through an online survey. This was followed by detailed conversations with parents who were interested in participating further. The survey and interviews were informed by a review of published evidence on the development and participation of children with significant health needs.
The project report presents findings from each stage of the work, including detailed stories of six children and key messages for the service system about parents’ priorities for their children. The importance of services and supports being offered in a way that respects parents’ hopes and aspirations is emphasised.
The “The Green Book”, as the report has become known, continues to be used as a reference for shaping practice within Children’s Health Queensland.
Katy and Rachel were asked by QCOSS to assist them to test the logic and feasibility of the strategies and directions in their draft strategic plan. Using Theory of Change methodology, Katy and Rachel worked with the Board and staff group to identify a long term goal, and long term and intermediate outcomes, and to map these to the proposed actions in the plan. This validated many of the existing actions but also identified gaps and risks that were addressed before the plan was finalised.
After the strategic plan was finalised, Katy and Rachel then worked with the team to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework for measuring progress towards outcomes. Katy provided additional mentoring to a small staff group to build internal capability to conduct monitoring and evaluation activities and support active use of the framework.
All staff now understand the where, why and how of QCOSS’ direction, are committed to the organisation’s goals and have processes in place to measure the impact of their work. The outcomes data they gather also helps them in reporting to government, garnering public support for their directions and allocating resources to best effect.